"Large numbers and large variations in the numbers indicate that improvements are possible," says Hyland at the University of Stavanger (UiS).
According to a study in Boston, USA, 234 million major surgical procedures are conducted worldwide each year. This means that one out of 25 human beings undergoes a major surgical procedure each year.
Although surgery saves and improves lives, operations are also risky. According to the WHO, serious complications occur in three to 17 per cent of all procedures in industrialised countries.
Mortality during operations is 0.4-0.8 per cent, which means that one million people die every year during or after a surgical procedure.
Robust operating teams
Hyland focuses on quality and safety at Norwegian hospitals. He believes that instead of investigating errors and faults, the best way to reduce the negative figures is to focus on and learn from what already works well.
Hyland studied a surgical unit at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, where he observed 27 operations over more than 60 hours to identify aspects of the practices of surgeons, nurses and physicians contributing to positive outcomes of surgical procedures.
"There are always risks involved in an operation, but the outcome is determined by more than a tired surgeon," says Hyland.
He describes the surgical operating teams as robust since the teams are prepared for unexpected incidents and complications that might occur, and since both personnel and equipment can be brought in or replaced, on short notice, if required.
"Flexible surgical units and operating teams represent a clear strength," he says. "The unit under study had extra operating rooms, extra personnel and extra equipment available.
"Through this flexibility, the unit could compensate for increased pressure or illness.
"Surgeons and nurses also knew each other well. In my study, they were stationed at
|Contact: Sindre Hyland|
University of Stavanger